July 27, 2015

On my favorite audiobooks

Top 10 lists are typically linkbait, but my friend Lesley asked me for my recommended list of audiobooks and it seemed like the easiest way to rate my favorite ones:

1. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing 

  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins 

Without a doubt my favorite audiobook. The story is so amazing you forget it was an actual event. This is the only audiobook that I’ve been able to listen while jogging — so intense was my attention.

2. Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin 

  • Narrated by: Steve Martin
  • Length: 4 hrs and 3 mins 

The combination of a great autobiography, with Martin himself reading makes this another a close second. It makes a superficial understanding of that funny actor into a life story told by your favorite uncle.

3. Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin Mitnick, William L. Simon 

  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 13 hrs and 59 mins 

A catch me if you can story that it’s hard to believe is real. Also an inside tour to the world of computers and networks from the late 70′s to the early 90′s.

4. Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner 

  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 12 hrs and 43 mins 

Great example of how a good reader matters in an audiobook. Wheaton is as excited about reading this book as you are listening. If you grew up with PCs and video games in the 90′s, you’ll love this book. If you didn’t, it’s still an amazing story about technology and brilliant characters.

5. Made to Stick by Chip Heath, Dan Heath 

  • Narrated by: Charles Kahlenberg
  • Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins 

I listened to this book on my walk to BU 9 years ago. I probably quote more things from it than from any class I took during the MBA.

6. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks 

  • Narrated by: Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, Rob Reiner
  • Length: 6 hrs and 3 mins 

Only fiction book I’ve enjoyed. I’m not much of a zombie fan, but the documentary style of this book makes for a very fun ride. I hope they don’t make a movie and ruin it ;).

7. The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu 

  • Narrated by: Marc Vietor
  • Length: 14 hrs and 10 mins 

More than any other book I’ve listened (or even read), Wu’s walkthrough in the history of networks has given me a much deeper understanding and context in an industry I thought I knew. Every geek and policy maker should read this book.

8. Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris 

  • Narrated by: Fred Berman
  • Length: 20 hrs and 41 mins 

Be ready for flashbacks. If you ever went to bed hoping Santa brought you a Nintendo, Sega Genesis or Sony Playstation — this is the behind the curtain story. Also has some interesting business cases nuggets.

9. I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short 

  • Narrated by: Martin Short
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins 

The other guy in the Three Amigos movie. Famous, but not star famous. An extremely sincere book with many relatable stories.

10. A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage

  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins 

Fun listen that will make you appreciate your drinks a lot more — and probably become a little annoying at dinners.


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